Don’t Be a Foolish Thinker

The word “fool” is used nearly 40 times in the book of Proverbs. Solomon used it more often than any other writer in Scripture. The word appears primarily in the wisdom literature. It was used to describe a person who, in general, lacked wisdom. Sometimes a fool was one who despised wisdom or discipline.

According to Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Closely tied to this train of thought, Proverbs 14:7 teaches us, “Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.”

Fools are arrogant and careless (Proverbs 14:16). To me, one verse that rises above the rest is Proverbs 18:2, “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.” If you don’t believe the truth of this verse, you have never watched talk shows on television.

Aristotle said, “There is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man.” Today, we have numerous tests to evaluate our intellectual knowledge. We test students from grade school through high school to evaluate if they are “college material.” We require everyone from doctors, accountants, pharmacists and realtors to take tests. In many professions, tests are required to maintain your credentials and license.

We would be foolish if we entrusted our medicine, health, or finances to a person who wasn’t qualified. Typically, we look to someone who is seasoned and tested for advice and help.

We live in a world where our kids are learn- ing at a rapid pace. Knowledge is doubling every seventeen months. What once took centuries, now takes only a matter of months. Preschoolers are learning to work computers. Courses that were once reserved for college are now being taught in middle school. Learning and comprehension are exploding all around us. Even the most well read can’t keep up. It’s overwhelming. Parents are intimidated by their kid’s knowledge and awareness of facts.

However, knowledge without discernment is dangerous. You can be intellectually advanced and be morally depraved or emotionally immature. As our kids grow up too fast and too soon, they have more “knowledge” than their grandparents, but lack the maturity they need. While they can decipher math problems, they still struggle with insecurities. They can solve various scenarios in the classroom, but don’t have a clue how to manage their allowance.

It is foolish to think that knowing facts makes one wise. It is foolish to conclude that, because you know more than someone in a particular area, you are wiser than they. It is equally foolish to think that you can get something for nothing. Yet, this country is filled with people who foolishly pursue this philosophy.

One of the most obvious signs of the foolish person is the belief that he or she can get something for nothing. This kind of foolishness is revealed in every lottery ticket and at every slot machine. People who live at the poverty level spend money on lottery tickets hoping to become millionaires. The whole lottery and gambling industry is built on the foolish concept that everyone can get something for little or nothing.

The numbers are a little dated, but the point is still valid. A few years ago, a Seattle, Washington newspaper published an article entitled, “The Cost of Nothing Index.” The writer concluded that one could spend over $30.00 a month and get nothing in return for the money.

The writer concluded the minimum charge on a homeowner’s water bill was $2.10, even if you never turned on the faucet. The electric company charged $1.50 on each bill for bookkeeping purposes, even if your power was off. You pay for the privilege of having electricity in your house. There was a monthly $5.45 charge for sewer service, even if you never flush the toilet. The phone company billed each customer $8.25 a month even if they never made or received a call. The cable company charges $10.00 a month whether you turn the television on or not. All this could fall under the category of getting nothing for something.

Have you ever gone to church and wanted something for nothing? Do you enjoy the music, preaching, Bible study, childcare, ministry for your students and expect that it should be provided for you for nothing? Are you taking in and never giving out? Do you want the church to invest in your life while you refuse to invest your gifts, resources, and time in the church? That’s foolish.

A wise man, according to Proverbs, listens to counsel. Therefore, the person who goes to church, attends Bible conferences and yet never changes or grows, is foolish. A person who listens to the sermon but refuses to respond when the altar is open is foolish. The one who hears without doing is foolish. The foolish person is changing – but for the worse. The heart is becoming hard while the head is being puffed up with knowledge. You can know the Bible, and miss God. That’s foolish. The Scripture says, “They draw near to me with their words. They honor me with their lips. But their hearts are far removed from me.”

To know God, about God, and to not really know Him, is the ultimate foolishness. To settle for anything less than God’s best for your life is foolishness. Jesus came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. Why would His children want anything less than the best? The only answer is, we’re foolish.

It’s time for God’s children to listen to the counsel of the Word. It’s time for us to move on to maturity. There’s no secret or mystery to it. It comes through obedience to the Word of God and the will of God. The one who does so, is wise, mature, and blessed. The one who refuses, is a fool.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Be a Foolish Thinker

  1. “Things are always obvious after the fact… It has to do with the way that our mind handles historical information. When you look at the past, the past will always be deterministic, since only one single observation took place.”-Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book “Fooled by Randomness;The Hidden role of Chance in Life and in the markets”.

    This was a hard read for me Pastor Catt, it is painfully truthful. Like Nassim, i have had to deal often with the fallibility of human knowledge. I agree there are certain areas of my life where i have a hard heart towards God. I have been cold,insensitive,unfeeling and unyielding. I have always found it funny,God created us in a way that we can harden our hearts and literally shut out unwanted things,i am sure it was meant to be a positive thing but yet i haven’t understood it. What God meant for good has actually worked against me. My Aunt Rosemary had warned me never to have a hard heart or harbor any resentment towards God, especially over things that i do not understand. She told me it dulls a person’s ability to perceive and understand, that it takes away the reward God would have blessed you with after enduring. All these while she battled stage 3 cancer! On a deathbed that the doctor had said she would not get up from. She was a full bodied african woman but after months of Chemo, she was stripped of everything leaving her frail with the body that resembled that of a young girl. In her undying faith in God she got healed leaving us completely stunned yet extremely happy.

    I have plenty to learn from you Pastor Catt but i am committed to staying on the learning path. I have taken your advice with great humility. God bless you. Divided by miles,United in love.

    From Africa with love,
    Langat Kibet,
    Nairobi,Kenya(East Africa).

  2. God’s word is such a double edged sword! Right now my husband and I are in the 4th week of the Truth project on Wednesday nights and it is a bit upsetting to see all of the foolishness in the world that many of us accept without questioning. There are things being taught as facts in our schools that aren’t! There is also a foolishness in pride which also comes with being “smart.” I see how we can be wise in the world’s eyes but foolish in God’s. It is so important to align our lives with His word. Thank you for being real and for being a great leader of our church. My husband and I appreciate that you immerse your sermon’s in God’s word and seek the wisdom of God. When I hear preachers quoting Budda and every other “smart” person and forget the Bible it is upsetting be because they are missing out on the power of God.

  3. Pastor Catt, your weekly messages resonate with truth, vitality and sincerity. This ‘fool’ personally thanks you for your pastoral sensitivity and unwavering truth!


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